Does a widow or a divorcee need the permission of her wali for her nikah?


Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa, examined some of the fatwas issued by Dar-ul-Ifta Rabwah regarding the participation of a widow in her son’s wedding during the ‘iddah period, a wali’s permission for the marriage of a widow or a divorced woman, and also the method of citation used in those fatwas.

Huzoor-e-Anwaraa then issued the following guidance regarding these issues in his letter dated 29 October 2021:

“[…] Similarly, you have also issued a fatwa upon someone’s inquiry regarding marrying a widow or a divorced woman without the permission of her wali, with reference to my sermon of Friday, 24 December 2004. If you have inferred from it that widows and divorced women absolutely did not need the permission of the wali for their marriage, then this is not a correct conclusion. That is because a maiden, a widow or a divorcee each needs the permission of the wali for her marriage, and on the occasion of her nikah, her wali is the one who makes the declaration [ijab-o-qubul].

“The sayings of the Holy Prophetsa and the established practice of the Rightly-Guided Caliphsra prove that every woman, whether she is a maiden, a widow or a divorcee, needs the consent of her wali for her nikah. This position is also supported by the sayings of the Promised Messiahas and his successors. Hence, Huzooras states, ‘Islam did not approve that a woman should marry someone without the agency of a wali, who may be her father, brother or some other relative.” (Chashma-e-Ma‘rifat, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 23, p. 289)

“Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira has narrated a personal incident related to this issue in Mirqat al-Yaqin fi Hayati Nuriddin, the summary of which is that once he accepted the fatwa of some scholars (namely Syed Nazeer Husain Dehlawi and Shaykh Muhammad Hussain Batalvi) and intended to marry a widow without the consent of her wali, thinking that the following hadith was doubtful: لَا نِكَاحَ إِلَّا بِوَلِيٍّ [‘There is no nikah without a wali.’ (Mishkat al-Masabih, Kitab an-nikah, Bab al-waliyyi fi n-nikahi wa s-ti’zani l-mar’ah, al-Fasl II)]. Then, in a dream, Allah the Exalted showed him the Holy Prophetsa twice in a somewhat displeased state and he understood this dream to mean that he should not pay attention to the fatwas of these jurists. Huzoorra states that, ‘I said to myself at once that even if the whole world were to consider this hadith weak, even then I would consider it authentic.’ (Mirqat al-Yaqin fi Hayati Nuriddin, pp. 158-160)

“Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra states, ‘A woman came to Allah’s Messengersa to have her nikah performed [to someone], and he appointed her son, who was probably ten or eleven years old, as her wali. This proves that only men are to be walis. Since this woman had no other male wali, the Holy Prophetsa thought it necessary to ask this boy.’ (Daily Al Fazl, Qadian, No. 143, Vol. 26, 25 June 1938, p. 4)

“However, as I mentioned in my aforementioned Friday sermon, a widow or a divorced woman has a greater right than her wali to decide about herself as compared to a maiden. What I meant by that was that if a widow or a divorced woman wants to get married to someone, the wali should not stop her unnecessarily, but should respect her will and marry her according to her wishes. […]”

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